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Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking & Baking With Crème Fraîche

It would be fair to say that most home bakers in the U.S. have never worked with crème fraîche. It isn’t carried everywhere, it’s pricier than heavy cream and sour cream, which can be used instead of it in most recipes.

Today’s tip is: Find some and work with it.

WHAT IS CRÈME FRAÎCHE?

Crème fraîche (pronounced crem fresh, French for “fresh cream”) is a thickened cream—not as thick as sour cream, more of the consistency of yogurt. That’s an appropriate analogy because both are slightly soured with bacterial culture. Crème fraîche has more fat than either, for a richer experience.

Originally from Normandy, the dairy heartland of France, today crème fraîche used throughout Continental and American cuisines.

Sour cream, which is more accessible and less expensive, can be substituted in most recipes; but crème fraîche has additional advantages:

  • It can be whipped, and it will not curdle when cooked over high heat.
  • It’s a bit lighter in body than commercial sour creams, more subtly sour, and overall more elegant.
  •  
    Crème fraîche is made by inoculating unpasteurized heavy cream with Lactobacillus cultures, letting the bacteria grow until the cream is both soured and thick and then pasteurizing it to stop the process.

    Thus, authentic crème fraîche cannot be made at home in the U.S., because only pasteurized cream is available to consumers. Adding Lactobacillus to pasteurized cream will cause it to spoil instead of sour.

    However, you can still make it at home with pasteurized cream. Here’s a crème fraîche recipe plus the difference between crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream and similar products.
     
    Uses For Crème Fraîche Beyond Baking

  • Creamy salad dressings and soups
  • Crêpe and omelet fillings
  • Sauces for vegetables
  • Topping for fresh fruit and other desserts
  • Coffee, creamy cocktails and bittersweet hot chocolate
  • Caviar (or roe of any kind) and smoked salmon
  • Guilty pleasure (eating it from the container)
  •  
    RECIPE: DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CRÈME FRAÎCHE CUPCAKES WITH CRÈME FRAÎCHE FROSTING

    Because you have to start somewhere, here’s a recipe that few people would decline: chocolate cupcakes. The star ingredient in these beautiful cupcakes from Hummingbird High is crème fraîche, used in both the cake and frosting. Rich, chocolaty cupcakes are topped with a creamy, velvety, simple-to-make frosting.

    Ingredients For 12 Cupcakes

  • 1 ounce 72%* cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) Vermont Creamery crème fraîche, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  •    

    Salmon Caviar Creme Fraiche

    Tomato Soup Creme Fraiche

    Chocolate Ganache

    Creme Fraiche Cupcakes Recipe

    [1] Crème fraîche on a baby potato, topped with salmon caviar (photo Fotolia). [2] Tomato soup with caviar in the base and as a garnish (photo courtesy Munchery). [3] A classic chocolate ganache is made from chocolate and cream. Corn syrup is added for glossiness. Here’s the recipe from King Arthur Flour. [4] Crème fraîche cupcakes, recipe below (photo courtesy Michelle Lopez | Hummingbird High).

     
    Ingredients For The Chocolate Crème Fraîche Frosting (About 1 Cup)

  • 6 ounces 72% cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces/1/2 stick) Vermont Creamery cultured unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Vermont Creamery crème fraîche, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  •  
    ________________
    *A 72% bittersweet chocolate is perfect for lovers of bittersweet, and the cacao level used by top pastry chefs. However, if you prefer a lower percentage, go for it. You can make milk chocolate ganache and white chocolate ganache as well. The key is not the percentage cacao, but the quality of the chocolate. Ganache is de facto made just from chocolate and cream, but you can take a few liberties. We’ve added coffee to both dark chocolate and white chocolate ganaches. Here’s a recipe for chocolate ganache with crème fraîche instead of heavy cream.

     

    Creme Fraiche Vermont Creamery

    Creme Fraiche & Fruit

    [1] One of our fantasies: an entire bucket of crème fraîche from Vermont Creamery. [2] We’d use it to make everything, without forgetting the simple pleasure of crème fraîche with fresh berries (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    Preparation For The Cupcakes

    1. CENTER a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Prepare a 12-well muffin tin by lining with cupcake liners.

    2. COMBINE 1 ounce coarsely chopped dark chocolate and 1/3 cup hot coffee in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. DO NOT STIR. Let sit for 2 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. As the chocolate is melting…

    3. COMBINE in a medium bowl 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; whisk until combined. Set aside.

    4. RETURN to the chocolate. At this point the chocolate should be melty and easily melt into the coffee when whisked. Turn the mixer to its lowest setting and whisk the chocolate and coffee together, then add 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup crème fraîche, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract. Continue whisking until just combined.

    5. STOP the mixer and sprinkle the dry ingredients (from the 3rd step) over the liquid ingredients (from the 4th step). Turn the mixer back on to medium-low and continue whisking until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

    6. DIVIDE the batter evenly between the cupcake liners using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop. Be careful not to overfill and start with as little as 2 tablespoons per cupcake.

    7. BAKE in the preheated oven until the cupcakes are domed and the top springs back when gently touched, around 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack to room temperature before frosting.
     
    Preparation For The Chocolate Crème Fraîche Frosting

    1. MAKE the frosting. Combine 6 ounces of dark chocolate, 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon light corn syrup in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl that sits on top of a pan of simmering water. The water in the pan should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Melt completely, using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir occasionally to combine the ingredients.

     
    2. REMOVE from the heat when the chocolate and butter have fully melted. Whisk the mixture gently to release more heat, before whisking in 1/4 cup crème fraîche and 2 tablespoons half-and-half. Continue whisking until both the crème fraîche and half-and-half are fully integrated and the frosting is a uniform dark chocolate color.

    3. SET the frosting aside for 15 minutes to cool more, giving the frosting a gentle whisk every 5 minutes to allow heat to escape. After 15 minutes, use the frosting. At first it will seem too liquidy, but the frosting will quickly cool as it is spread throughout the cake. Work quickly to frost the cake before the frosting cools completely: It will harden as it cools. Use an offset spatula or a butter knife to divide and spread the frosting evenly among the cupcakes, and garnish with any additional decoration.

      

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    RECIPE: Atlantic Beach Pie, A Spin On Lemon Meringue Pie

    Lemon Meringue Pie Slice

    Atlantic Beach Pie Recipe

    Lemon Meringue Pie

    Chess Pie

    [1] A slice of classic lemon meringue pie (photo courtesy IncredibleEgg.org). [2] The Atlantic Beach Pie variation substitutes a crunchy saltine crust (photo courtesy Crook’s Corner | Our State magazine). [3] You can never have too much meringue (photo courtesy McCormick; here’s the recipe). [4] Chess pie is a lemon custard pie baked in an all-butter pie crust (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, celebrating one of America’s favorite pies.

    THE HISTORY OF LEMON MERINGUE PIE

    Lemon-flavored custards, puddings and pies date to the Middle Ages, which concluded in the 15th century. Meringue was perfected in the 17th century.

    The modern lemon meringue pie is a 19th-century recipe, attributed to Alexander Frehse, a baker in the Swiss canton of Romandie. By the late 19th century, the dish had reached the U.S. and achieved popularity.

    It combines a lemon custard single crust pie with meringue, the fluffy topping made from egg whites and sugar, baked on top. Here’s the classic lemon meringue pie recipe.

    Fast-forward a century to Atlantic Beach Lemon Pie, a Southern specialty from the beaches of North Carolina.

    It’s a lemon meringue pie with a twist: It has a crunchy, salty crust made from crushed saltine or Ritz cracker crumbs.

    It fell out of fashion for decades, until it was rescued from obscurity by Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    Chef Bill added his own touch, substituting whipped cream for the meringue topping.

    Chef Bill has been generous with his recipe. We encountered this recipe in OurState, magazine in Greensboro, North Carolina, whose editor asked him to write about it. Here’s the original article.

    RECIPE: ATLANTIC BEACH PIE

    Ingredients For The Crust

  • 1½ sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 1/3 to ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  •  
    Ingredients For The Filling

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks (tip: eggs separate more easily when cold)
  • ½ cup lemon juice* (about 4 juicy lemons) or Key lime juice (16 Key limes, or substitute juice from 5-6 regular limes)
  •  
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    *To get more juice from a lemon (or any citrus), microwave it for 10 seconds. Then roll it on the counter, exerting pressure with your palm. You’re now ready to halve and juice it.
     
    Ingredients For The Garnish

  • Whipped cream
  • Coarse sea salt (especially black lava or pink salt like alea for contrast)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the crackers in a plastic bag, seal and crush crush with a rolling pin into tiny, flaky pieces. You will have about 2½ to 3 cups of cracker crumbs. Do not use a food processor or you will end up with cracker dust that doesn’t work.

    2. ADD the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little. While the crust is cooling…

    3. BEAT the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients.

    5. POUR into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.
     
    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIE?

    Check out the different types of pie in our yummy Pie Glossary.
     
    PIE HISTORY

    The ancient Egyptians, who were great bread bakers, worked out the details of early pastry. Theirs was a savory pastry: a dough of flour and water paste to wrap around meat and soak up the juices as it cooked.

     
    Before the creation of baking pans in the 19th century, the coffin, as it was called (the word for a basket or box), was used to bake all food.

    Pastry was further developed in the Middle East and brought to Mediterranean Europe by the Muslims in the 7th century. Another leap occurred in the 11th Century, when Crusaders brought phyllo dough back to Northern Europe (the First Crusade was 1096 to 1099).

    Greek and Roman pastry did not progress as far as it could have because both cultures used oil, which can’t create a stiff pastry. In medieval Northern Europe, the traditional use of lard and butter instead of oil for cooking hastened the development of other pastry types.

    Pies developed, and the stiff pie pastry was used to provide a casing for the various fillings. By the 17th century, flaky and puff pastries were in use, developed by French and Italian Renaissance chefs. These pastry chefs began to make highly decorated pastry, working intricate patterns on the crusts.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Tomato Clafoutis

    Clafoutis (cluh-FOO-tee) is a rustic tart, initially made with cherries in the Limousin region of south-central France, where black cherry trees abound.

    Today, other stone fruits and berries are also used. When other kinds of fruit are used instead of cherries—apples, berries, pears, other stone fruits including prunes—dried plums—the dish is properly called a flaugnarde (flow-NYARD).

    In the centuries before ceramic pie plates were invented (during the Renaissance), the filling was placed into a hand-crafted dough with no sides (think of a galette, or a pizza with a higher side crust).

    The fruit is placed in a pie shell and covered with a flan (custard)-like filling; then baked until puffy. The fruit is not only inside the custard, but tempting nuggets pop through at the top.

    The recipe originated in the Limousin region of France, where black cherries were plentiful (red cherries can also be used). The name derives from the verb clafir, to fill, from the ancient language of Occitania, the modern southern France.

    Fruit clafoutis can be served warm, room temperature or chilled; vegetable clafoutis are better warm.
     
    RECIPE: SAVORY TOMATO CLAFOUTIS

    A savory clafoutis is similar to a quiche. Without a crust it is a savory custard, and can be made in a pie plate or in individual ramekins.

    This recipe was contributed by Karen, FamilyStyle Food to Go Bold With Butter, a source of wonderful recipes.

    Karen made the dish as a custard, without a crust. You can do the same, or use a pie crust or a crust of crushed biscuits/crackers.

    Prep Time is 10 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes. Serve it warm from the oven or room temperature, for brunch, lunch or dinner, or as a first course or snack.

    For a more artistic presentation, use cherry tomatoes in an assortment of colors. You can also combine cherry and grape tomatoes.

     
    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes in assorted colors, halved
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Kosher salt or seasoned salt*
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • Optional crust
  • Optional garnish: marinated tomato “salad”†
  •  
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    *We used rosemary salt, a blend of sea salt and rosemary. You can make your own by pulsing dried rosemary (or other herb) and coarse salt in a food processor. Start with a 1:3 ratio and add more rosemary to taste.

    †We cut up the leftover tomatoes and marinated them with diced red onion and fresh herbs in a vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drain it thoroughly through a sieve and then use it as a topping or a side garnish.

     

    Cherry Clafoutis

    Mixed Berry Clafoutis

    roasted-tomato-clafoutis-goboldwbutter-230

    [1] A classic clafoutis, a custard tart with black cherries (here’s the recipe from FoodBeam.com). [2] This mixed berry clafoutis is from The Valley Table, which highlights the cuisine of New York’s Hudson Valley. It is garnished with fresh berries and a side of crème fraîche. [3]A tomato clafoutis with flavorful summer tomatoes (photo courtesy FamilyStyleFood.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Prick the bottom of the pie shell all over with a fork. Line the bottom with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust begins to color around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside and raise the oven temperature to 400°F.

    2. TOSS the tomatoes and butter on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt to taste. Roast 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and begin to caramelize. Transfer the tomatoes to 9-inch round or square baking dish, or set aside until Step 5.

    3. REDUCE the oven temperature to 375°F. Whisk the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar in large bowl until lightened and creamy. Stir in the flour, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan and the cream.

    4. BEAT the egg whites in separate bowl or heavy-duty mixer until they form soft peaks. Fold into yolk mixture until blended. Pour batter over tomatoes and sprinkle with basil.

    5. BAKE 18-20 minutes or until batter is puffed and light golden. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and serve warm.
     
    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF PIE

    Invented by the ancient Egyptians, for some 2,000 years food was not baked in containers (e.g. pie plates, baking pans), but completely wrapped in dough. The dough wrap was called a coffin, the word for a basket or box.

    Here’s the scoop.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Easiest Fruit Tart Recipe

    Yesterday, August 11th, was National Raspberry Tart Day. It follows on the heels of National Raspberry Cake Day (July 31st), National Raspberry Pie Day (August 1st) and National Raspberries & Cream Day (August 7th).

    We celebrated with a homemade raspberry tart. It took fewer than 20 minutes. Thanks go to our dear friend Carol, who taught us the too-good-to-be-so-easy recipe below, many years ago.

    All you need is a shortbread crust, raspberries and a jar of apple jelly. The jelly is melted into a light coat of glaze, which not only adds shine but keeps the fruit from drying out

    Prep time is 15 minutes to make and bake the crust, plus cooling time and 5 more minutes fill the crust with fruit and brush the fruit with melted jelly.

    It’s one of our go-to desserts, whenever we need something quick and impressive.
     
    WHAT ABOUT TARTLETS?

    There’s actually an even faster way to celebrate: Make tartlets (individual tarts). Buy pre-made tart shells and fill them with fruit curd, jam or preserves (the difference).

    It’s hard to find buttery shells ready-made. Our favorite is Clearbrook Farms bite-size mini tartlet shells. If you buy a brand that you think isn’t great for dessert, you can fill the shells with chicken salad or other savory food, from scrambled eggs to Seafood Newburg.

    But just get out the butter and make your own shell. Show off the fresh fruits as they deserve.
     
    USE BERRIES OR STONE FRUITS IN THIS RECIPE

    You can make this recipe with soft fruit, such as berries and ripe stone fruits (nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.).

    Other fruits, like apples and pears, need to be baked to become soft enough for pastries.

    You can mix different fruits together in whatever artistic combinations you like.
     
    TART PAN TIPS

  • If you don’t already have a tart pan, buy a good one. Cheaper ones can be flimsy and rust-prone. The pan will serve you for the rest of your life, for tarts, quiches, and as an extra pie pan in a pinch.
  • Buy a large pan: 10 to 12 inches.
  • If you don’t have or want a tart pan, you can use a pie pan, but it won’t have the classic shape: straight sides and a perfect fluted crust.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE THE DIFFERENCESBETWEEN PIES & TARTS.
     
    RECIPE: EASIEST TART FOR BERRIES & STONE FRUITS

    Ingredients

  • 2 pints (4 cups) berries or equivalent sliced stone fruit, plus extra*
  • 1 jar apple jelly
  •  
    For The Crust

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  •  
    Optional

  • Filling base: almond cream (frangipanerecipe) or pastry cream (crème pâtissiére) recipe
  • Cream cheese filling (†recipe below)
  • Garnish: chopped pistachios, crème fraîche or mascarpone
  •    
    Easy Raspberry Tart

    Raspberry Curd Tart

    Fruit Curd Tartlet

    Apple Jelly

    [1] An easy raspberry tart from Lottie And Doof. A tart pan has a removable bottom to show off the fluted edges of the crust. [2] Another easy way: make tartlets (individual portions) with fruit curd. You can buy both the shells and the curd, but here’s the recipe from from-scratch recipeSnixyKitchen.com. [3] This tartlet from Ostyeria Morini in New York City is served à la mode. [4] Versatile apple jelly makes a delicious fruit glaze (photo courtesy Smucker’s).

     
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    * Because different diameter pans require different amounts of fruit, buy an extra pint or pound “just in case.” You can serve it to guests who avoid baked desserts, or enjoy it yourself tomorrow.

    †Combine 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

     

    Raspberry Jam Tartlet

    Mini Tartlets Lemon Curd

    [1] You can fill tartlets or mini tartlets with jam (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [2] Mini tartlets filled with lemon curd (photo courtesy Aida Mollenkamp).

     

    Preparation

    1. WASH the berries and pat dry gently with paper towels; use fresh paper towels to further drain; set aside. If using stone fruit, slice, skin on, and place in a bowl.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Combine the crust ingredients and press the dough into a tart pan. Bake it for 12-15 minutes, until light golden brown (not beige). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. When it reaches room temperature…

    3. FILL the crust. If using an optional base (cream cheese, pastry cream, etc.), use a spatula to fill the bottom of the crust. Then set the fruit in concentric circles or other attractive pattern.

    4. MAKE the glaze. Melt the apple jelly and use a pastry brush to brush it over the fruit.
     
    TARTS, TARTLETS & MINI TARTS: THE DIFFERENCE

  • Tart. A tart is a multi-portion dessert, made in a fluted pan with a removable bottom. As with a pie, it is sliced into individual portions. The crust is thicker than a pie and the tart can stand on its own outside of the pan. Typical tart pan sizes are 8, 9, 10 or 11 inches in diameter.
  • Tartlet. A tartlet is an individual-size tart, typically 4 to 4.75 inches in diameter. The bottom may or may not be removable.
  • Mini Tartlet. A mini-tartlet is a bite-size tartlet, approximately 1.75 inches in diameter, made in mini tartlet pans. The bottom is not removable but it’s easy to lift out the pastry.
  •  

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cookie Dough For Dessert

    Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

    Cookie Dough

    Davidson's Pasteurized Safe Eggs

    Davidson's Safe Eggs Carton

    [1] One of our favorite treats. No need to turn on the oven: We’ll have it raw (photo courtesy Geraldine | Wikipedia). [2] For dessert or snacking: a few spoons of raw cookie dough (photo courtesy Edoughble.com). [3] Buy pasteurized eggs, or pasteurize your own at home (instructions below?). [4] A carton of pasteurized Davidson’s Safe Eggs (photos 3 and 4 courtesy Davidson’s).

     

    Eating raw cookie dough is no doubt as old as baking cookies. It’s different than, but equally as delicious, as the baked cookies.

    We know: Every time we make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, we end up with just 2/3 of the yield, the rest of the raw dough nibbled away during prep.

    Sometimes we mix up a batch just for the dough. You can wrap individual portions of dough and freeze them for future snacking.

    In fact, make a few different flavors at your leisure, shape them into individual balls and freeze them, and you’ll have an “instant” chocolate cookie dough dessert. You can wrap individual balls, or place them in ice cube trays.

    Edoughble, a company that sells raw, ready-to-eat cookie dough (second photo), makes a selection of flavors: birthday cake, chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream, oatmeal chip, peanut butter banana chip, red velvet, s’mores, snickerdoodle and seasonal flavors (it’s orange creamsicle this summer).

    Pick three or four flavors and start mixing dough!

    You can serve it on spoons, as in the photo; in a sundae dish with fresh fruit; with a side of graham crackers; or as a mini banana split.

    THE HISTORY OF COOKIE DOUGH ICE CREAM

    Chocolate chip cookie dough was created by accident by Ruth Wakefield, an inn owner on Cape Cod, in 1937. It took almost 50 years for it to become a favorite ingredient in ice cream.
     
    The first record of cookie dough ice cream credits Fabulous Phil’s Gourmet Ice Cream in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, a small local business that existed from 1982 to 1983. The flavor was invented by owner Philip S. Kampe, using homemade cookie dough, in 1984.

    Phil’s flavor was followed by one from the far-better-known Ben & Jerry’s in Burlington, Vermont, which got the idea from a customer suggestion (perhaps a customer of Fabulous Phil’s?). B&J bought cookie dough from a distributor, working with the company to make a dough with the right consistency for a mix-in (known in the trade as an inclusion).

    After the deadliest* Salmonella outbreak in history in 1985 traced to a dairy in the Midwest, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly discouraged consumption of it in everything from Caesar Salad to Steak Tartare and other popular recipes†. Many companies reformulated recipes to eliminate raw eggs or the use pasteurized raw eggs, in which the bacteria have been eliminated.
     
    GOOD NEWS: YOU CAN PASTEURIZE RAW EGGS AT HOME

    First, a disclaimer: If you have a health condition or general concern*, consult with your physician before eating anything raw.

    The easy way is to make safer cookie dough is to buy commercially pasteurized eggs.

    Look for Davidson’s Safe Eggs, pasteurized raw eggs. You can tell they’re pasteurized from the red “P” stamped onto each egg. If your grocer does not carry them, ask the manager to bring them in. Learn more at SafeEggs.com.

    Pasteurized eggs undergo an all-natural pasteurization process that kills harmful bacteria without altering the consistency or texture of the eggs.

    They look and act just like raw eggs, while eliminating the risk of salmonella. Unlike processed liquid eggs, they deliver the fresh flavor delivered by raw eggs.

    So you can enjoy the brownie batter, cookie dough and other raw egg foods† with the gusto they deserve.
     
    RECIPE: HOW TO PASTEURIZE RAW EGGS

    Home pasteurization doesn’t provide the 100% guarantee that commercially pasteurized eggs do, but it will significantly reduce any risk. (Also note that, as with many products, other ingredients can be contaminated including flour and nuts.)

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT a pot of water over medium heat to 145°F. Monitor the temperature with a probe thermometer.

    2. PLACE fresh, room-temperature eggs in the pot; the water must completely cover the eggs. Lower the heat and maintain the 145°F temperature. Do not let the temperature reach 160°F or you’ll start to cook the eggs.

    3. REMOVE the eggs after 3-1/2 minutes, or 5 minutes for extra-large and jumbo eggs. Then use or refrigerate. They’ll stay even fresher because the bacteria have been killed off.
     
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    *Salmonella generates more illnesses than fatalities, but can be fatal for risk groups, such as young children, the elderly and infirm. Here’s more from Web M.D.

    †Brownie/bar and cake batter, Caesar salad, cookie dough, cold/frozen soufflés, chiffons, French custard ice cream, eggnog, egg smoothies, egg white cocktails, homemade mayonnaise, mousse, steak tartare and others.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Violet Bakery Cookbook

    [1] The best cookies use jumbo chunks of top-quality chocolate (photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco). [2] Here’s the cookbook
    (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press).

     

    May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day…and so is August 4th.

    It may be that one is simply Chocolate Chip Day, and the other Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Emails for clarification have not been answered.

    But who would complain about a second Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?
     
    WHAT IS “THE BEST?”

    In subjective areas (as opposed to who crossed the finish line first), “the best” is in the eye of the beholder…or more accurately, on the palate.

    You know what you like. If you’re still searching for CCC* perfection, consider this recipe. The only challenge: finding room in the freezer for the cookie sheet!

    RECIPE: VIOLET BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    Ingredients For 16 Large Cookies

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips†
  • Parchment paper
  • __________________
    *Chocolate Chip Cookie!

    †We use Callebaut or Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. LINE a small baking sheet or pan—one that will fit inside your freezer—with parchment paper.

    2. BEAT the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined but not too creamy. You are not aiming for light and fluffy; that would make the cookies too cakey. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks and mix well.

     
    3. COMBINE the flour, salt and baking soda in another bowl and whisk together well. Add to the butter and egg mixture along with the chocolate; mix until combined.

    4. SCOOP individual portions of cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet or pan; or use spoons to pat each portion into a little ball. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour, or up to a month. You can bake them right away, but the cookies will be slightly flatter and less even. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 355°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookies evenly on the pan, leaving enough space between each one so they have room to expand during baking: They will almost double in size! Rest the frozen dough on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before placing in the oven.

    6. BAKE for 18 minutes, until the center of each cookie is slightly soft and under-baked, but the edges are crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving. These cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

    TIP: If your cookies aren’t as crisp the nest day, place them on a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet and warm them in the oven. The heat will drive out the extra moisture, making them crisp again.
     
    THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK

    While the chocolate chip cookie was born in the U.S.A., this recipe comes from London’s popular Violet Bakery. Alice Waters calls it “a little corner of Northern California in east London.”

    Get your copy at Amazon.com.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Recipe

    Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

    Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

    [1] The skillet cookie made by Michelle of HummingbirdHigh.com. [2] Lindsay of PinchOfYum.com adds a layer of caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt to her recipe.

     

    August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day—and just this week, we found this fun chocolate chip cookie recipe in Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All, by Cook’s Country.

    Beyond eggs, steak, cornbread and other popular skillet dishes, you can make skillet apple pie, cinnamon swirl bread, even pizza.

    But today, it’s all about the cookie. The recipe was baked in a 12″ diameter skillet, if yours is 10 inches, you’ll get a taller cookie (increase the baking time another 5 to 10 minutes).

    You can make it your own, with a mix of dark, milk and white chocolate chips; next time we might toss in some dried cherries. We substituted pecans for the hazelnuts.
     
    RECIPE: SKILLET CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

    Ingredients For A 12-Inch Cookie

  • 3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups (8.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 3/4 cup (4 ounces) whole raw hazelnuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADJUST an oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt 9 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

    Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until butter is dark golden brown, has a nutty aroma, and the bubbling has subsided some, about 5 minutes.

    Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons until completely melted.

     

    2. WHISK the dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and salt into the melted butter until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the egg and the egg yolk until smooth, about 3 seconds.

    Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times, until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.

    3. WHISK the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and optional nuts, making sure no flour pockets remain.

    4. WIPE the skillet clean with paper towels. Transfer the cookie dough to the empty, cleaned skillet and press it into an even layer with a spatula.

    Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake until cookie is golden brown and edges are set, about 20 minutes.

    5. USE potholders to transfer the skillet to a wire rack; let cookie cool for 30 minutes. Slice the cookie into wedges or diagonals and serve.

     

    Cook It In Cast Iron Cookbook

    what you can cook in a cast iron skillet (photo courtesy Cook’s Country). You can purchase the book online.

     
    THE HISTORY OF THE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

    It was an accident. Here’s the scoop.

      

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    RECIPE: Chocolate Raspberry Cream Pie

    Raspberry Pie

    Raspberry Tart

    Linzertorte

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/raspberry chocolate cream pie driscolls 230

    Fresh Raspberries In Box

    [1] Raspberry pie with a flower crust from Driscoll’s. Chocolate cream pie topped with raspberry cream (photo courtesy Driscoll’s). [2] A raspberry tart from LottieAndDoof.com with a coconut crust. Here’s the recipe. [3] A Linzertort is a shortbread crust filled with raspberry preserves (photo courtesy MackenzieLtd.com). [4] Chocolate cream pie with a raspberry cream top (recipe below, photo courtesy Driscoll’s). [5] This is the right month to find well-priced raspberries (photo courtesy MorgueFile).

     

    August 1st is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, completing a sweet trifecta that also includes National Cheesecake Day (July 30th) and National Raspberry Cake Day (July 31st).

    For a previous year’s Raspberry Cream Pie celebration, we published a classic French raspberry tart (see Pie Vs. Tart, below): a shortbread crust filled with creme patisserie and topped with raspberries. Here’s the recipe.

  • Those who have a bargain source of fresh raspberries can make a raspberry pie or a raspberry-apple pie.
  • It’s easy to make a raspberry ice cream pie with a pre-bought crust (try a chocolate cookie crust), raspberry ice cream (if you can find it) or vanilla ice cream, softened and blended with fresh raspberries and/or raspberry preserves.
  • Make Linzertorte, an Austrian favorite that requires only that you make the crust and add raspberry preserves (here’s a recipe).
  • How about a Raspberry Mousse Pie?
  • Or, make a deconstructed raspberry pie: Layer crushed graham cracker or shortbread cookie crumbs, ice cream or whipped cream, and fresh raspberries. Use a parfait glass, sundae dish or other dish (we used our glass coffee mugs).
  •  
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CREAM PIE

    This recipe one-ups a simple raspberry cream pie: It’s a chocolate cream pie topped with raspberry cream (fourth photo).

    Prep time is 25 minutes plus chilling.

    Ingredients For The Crust

  • 1-1/4 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 4 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  
    For The Raspberry Purée

  • 1 package (6 ounces or 1-1/3 cups) raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl and stir in the butter until evenly blended. Press the crumb mixture firmly on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-1/2-inch pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool.

    2. MAKE the filling. Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and the cornstarch. Set aside.

    3. BRING the remaining 1-1/2 cups milk, sugar, cocoa and salt just to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir the cornstarch mixture then add to the milk mixture in saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once mixture is at a boil and quite thick, cook 1 additional minute. Remove from the heat.

    4. MELT the chocolate and stir it into the melted chocolate and vanilla.

    5. SPOON the filling into the cooled crust. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming (personally, we like the skin!). Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

    6. MAKE the raspberry purée. Purée 1/2 package of raspberries in the food processor fitted with metal blade (the other half is used for garnish). Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the seeds. Stir the sugar into the purée until dissolved.

    7. BEAT the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks just form. Stir in the vanilla. Spread the whipped cream topping on chilled pie. With a small spoon (an espresso spoon is great) drop small amounts of raspberry purée onto the whipped cream. Use a toothpick or sharp knife to swirl the purée into the whipped cream (see the 4th photo). Garnish with the remaining raspberries.

     
    CREAM PIE VS. CREAM PIE

    What’s the difference between cream and creme? Just the spelling.

    Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème (pronounced KREHM), most likely adopted to make a dish sound more special.

    But why mispronounce another language’s word for cream? Unless it’s a French recipe, such as Coeur à la Crème or Crème Brûlée, stick to cream.
     
    PIE VS. TART

    We made a raspberry cream tart instead of a pie? What’s the difference between a pie and a tart? It’s interesting enough that we created an article about it. Check it out!

    For a quick visual, compare the first two photos at the top of the page.

     
      

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    RECIPE: No-Bake Raspberry-White Chocolate Cheesecake

    Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

    Raspberries Growing

    [1] Raspberry-White Chocolate Cheesecake. [2] A half-pint of raspberries (photos courtesy Driscoll’s). [3] Raspberries growing on the bush (photo courtesy Answers.com).

     

    July 31st is National Raspberry Cake day. Time to get out the cake pans and make a selection. With these recipes, the choices are tough!

    You can make:

  • Chocolate-Raspberry Bundt Cake
  • Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake
  • Greek Yogurt-Coconut Milk Cake With Raspberries
  • Hazelnut Raspberry Cream Cake
  • Raspberry Ombre Cake
  • Raspberry Heart Cake
  • Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake (recipe below)
  • White Layer Cake With Raspberry Cheesecake Middle Layer
  •  
    And the easiest options of all: pound cake topped with:

  • Raspberry ice cream or sorbet
  • Vanilla ice cream and raspberries
  • Whipped cream and raspberries
  •  
    RECIPE: NO-BAKE RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE WITH ALMOND CRUST (GLUTEN-FREE!)

    These recipe is from Driscoll’s, which supplied most of the recipes above to show off their delectable raspberries.

    It uses an almond flour crust, which is wonderful and happens to be gluten-free. However, if you don’t want nut flour, use your favorite cheesecake crust.

    Prep time is 40 minutes plus 6 or more hours chilling time.

    Ingredients For 16 Serving)

    For The Filling

  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) Driscoll’s raspberries
  • 8 ounces white chocolate chips or white chocolate bar, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • For The Crust

  • 13/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • 1 bar white chocolate, shaved
  •  
    Plus

  • 9″ springform pan
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: Combine the almond flour, sugar, cocoa, and melted butter in a bowl until evenly blended. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and refrigerate.

    2. PLACE the chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepot of simmering water to melt chocolate. Stir constantly and be careful not to let any water or steam get into the chocolate. Set aside and let cool as you complete the next steps.

    3. COMBINE the cold water and gelatin in a small saucepan and heat over low, stirring just until gelatin is dissolved.

    4. BEAT the cream cheese, sugar and dissolved gelatin in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium, until evenly blended.

    5. CHECK the temperature of both the cream cheese mixture and melted chocolate. They should be the same temperature to continue. Then, mix a few tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the melted white chocolate until it looks shiny and smooth. Gradually add the white chocolate chocolate mixture to the remaining cream cheese mixture, mixing until blended. Divide the mixture evenly into 2 bowls.

    6. BEAT the heavy cream in a separate bowl, to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into one of the bowls of the cream cheese mixture.

    7. PURÉE 1 package of raspberries in a blender or food processor. Strain (sieve) and discard the seeds; you should have about 1/2 cup purée. Stir the purée into the second bowl of cream cheese mixture, until evenly blended.

    8. POUR the whipped cream mixture into the cake pan and spread evenly. Spoon the raspberry mixture on top of the whipped cream mixture and gently spread evenly. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

    9. UNMOLD: Briefly wrap a warm, wet kitchen towel around the pan for a short while before opening the latch. This prevents the cake from sticking to the sides. A hairdryer also works.

    10. USE a vegetable peeler to make white chocolate curls from chocolate bar. Place on top of the cheesecake with the remaining raspberries.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Blueberry Cheesecake Bars For National Cheesecake Day

    Whip up cheesecake bars for National Cheesecake Day, July 30th.

    These were developed for the U.S. High bush Blueberry Council by Emily Hobbs of Ozark, Missouri. There are many more great blueberry recipes on the website.

    A layer of crunchy crust, followed by fluffy whipped cheesecake topped with toasted almonds and blueberries? Say no more – I’m yours! These Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars are so good you’ll be licking your fingers for every last bit. Because you cut them into squares, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars are great to pack for a picnic, dinner at a friend’s, or a family road trip.

     
    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE BARS

    Ingredients For 24 Bars

  • ½ cup plus 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (1½ packages), softened
  • 2½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  •  

    Blueberry Cheesecake Bars Recipe

    Highbush Blueberries

    [1] A stack of cheesecake bars. [2] Fresh-picked blueberries (photox courtesy U.S Highbush Blueberry Council).

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13-by 9-inch baking pan.

    2. SOFTEN ½ cup of the butter and combine it with ½ cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until fluffy. Add 2 cups of flour, the baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Beat until crumbly.

    3. TRANSFER the crumbs to the baking pan and pat to make an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes until the surface is dry but not browned. Meanwhile, in the same mixer bowl…

    4. BEAT the cream cheese, the remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice, and almond extract until fluffy. Beat in the eggs until combined. When the crust has baked…

    5. SPREAD spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the top and bake 20 minutes until the cheesecake has set.

    6. STIR together the brown sugar, remaining ¾ cup flour, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the brown sugar mixture. Work the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until uniform crumbs have formed. Stir in the almonds.

    When the cheesecake layer has baked…

    7. SPRINKLE the blueberries and crumb mixture over it and bake 20 minutes until the crumbs have browned. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least 2 hours until the cheesecake is firm, before cutting into 24 bars.
     
    THE TWO TYPES OF BLUEBERRIES

  • Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) grow on tall bushes; some cultivars reach a height of 6 to 8 feet. The berries are larger and more abundant than lowbush blueberries, although their flavor may be somewhat less intense and sweet.
  • Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), also referred to as wild blueberries, grow in Maine and the colder regions of eastern North America. The shrubs grow no taller than two feet and may be smaller, depending on soil and climate, and produce small, exceptionally sweet bluish-black berries. If you want to plant a bush or two, these are hardy plants that do well in all soils, even poor, rocky types, providing the drainage is good.
  •   

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